WASHINGTON -- Jason Marquis hopes that Sunday's start against Milwaukee is much better than his last against the Brewers.
Marquis had a horrid outing against the Brewers nearly a year ago, pitching to seven batters without retiring a single one. All seven scored as part of a 10-run first inning, and the Washington Nationals' right-hander didn't pitch again for nearly four months.
Marquis had elbow surgery in May, four weeks after his April 18 nightmare and finished the season with a 2-9 record and 6.60 ERA. He has a 3.65 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings this season -- without recording a decision.
"He's feeling better. He had some things he was pitching through early last year, and he just got to the point where he said, 'I've got to get this checked out' -- and he did," Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. "They removed some loose bodies after that in the elbow and he pitched pretty well after that."
Marquis was supposed to pitch Saturday, but the 1:05 p.m. game was postponed by rain. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader Sunday that begins at 1:35 p.m. Marquis will pitch the first game against Yovani Gallardo. Milwaukee's Marco Estrada and Washington's Livan Hernandez are slated for the second game.
The Nationals have begun this season 6-7, getting quality innings from their starters. Washington is just one of two major league teams whose starters have pitched at least five innings in each game.
"How far that starting pitcher goes has an impact on the rest of the game, the rest of the week, the rest of the month. It allows you to use your bullpen the way you want to use it and not overuse it," Riggleman said.
It's the second rainout this week for the Brewers. Their game at Pittsburgh on Tuesday was postponed and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Aug. 22.
"Two of them already. Hopefully, we won't have many more," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said.
The Brewers left Nationals Park quickly after the postponement was announced much to their relief.
"I can wrap my head around a doubleheader," Prince Fielder said. "I hate waiting."
It's the Nationals' first rainout this season.
Roenicke said that because of the rain, RHP Zack Greinke was unable to test out his fractured left rib. He threw a simulated game Friday. Roenicke said that if Greinke was pain-free Sunday, he'd announce a rehab schedule. Greinke said Friday that he hoped to pitch Tuesday at Single-A Brevard County. ... Riggleman said that he's leaving 3B Ryan Zimmerman alone for now. Zimmerman is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained abdominal muscle. "I'm not talking about it with Zim because I don't want him to feel we're pushing him to get back," Riggleman said. "For us to keep asking is really not getting anywhere."